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Artist at Work: The Art of Memories


By Hannah Jo Uy
Design Layout by Pinggot Zulueta

Emerging from the past as he walks toward the future, Rosscapili shares intimate and pivotal moments that made him the man he is today, all while paying homage to the memories that have yet to be created. As he traces the symmetry of time, he captures its dualistic nature in two stunning and artfully crafted back-to-back solo shows, one at Galerie Anna from Oct. 5 to 20 and another at Art Lounge 1792 for Manila Art 2017, on view from Oct. 12 to 15.

While other less seasoned artists may find the idea of holding two simultaneous solo exhibitions daunting, Rosscapili’s prolific nature thrived in the face of such a challenge, especially given the complex and deeply layered concept that he aimed to execute. Showcasing 11 works for Manila Art and 20 big works for in Galerie Anna, Rosscapili embarked on an emotionally and artistically exhaustive exercise. One show talks of recollecting, or rather the act of remembering, and another talks of the collecting, more specifically the act of creating memories that will echo in the future.

“A long time ago, I brought home with me a small stone from Alexandra, Egypt, where I stayed for a month,” he said. “Every time I would come across the stone in my drawer, I could imagine the sound of the wind and waves and those birds. I told myself in due time I would not only be able to imagine, I would paint this experience.”

  • Se Souvenir II, acrylic on canvas, 2017

  • A Delightful Future-Tondo in the 60s, acrylic on canvas, 2017

  • Se Souvenir I, acrylic on canvas, 2017

  • Rosscapili

    Indeed, memory is a personal experience. In his show in Galerie Anna, Rosscapili provides viewers with snapshots of the consciousness behind the signature. Entitled “Se Souvenir,” a French term, which means “to recall,” the collection focuses on the act of remembering.

    The collection also alludes to Paris and mimics the romantic ambiance of the city. This was no accident as it is also representative of the artist’s stay in Paris for an art residency. “I fell in love with Paris and the French countryside. Miro Frances Capili, our daughter. was conceived there and we named her after we saw a huge painting of Joan Miro at the Georges Pompidou.” His collection for Manila Art, however touches on the creation of memory, how we, at each moment and with every decision, pave the way for our future and the person we will become touching on defining moments that led to the present, and present works that will reverberate in the future. “The concept is about memoirs, images of things that, in one way or another, have brought meaning to what and where I am now.” The title, A Delightful Future, is best explained by the visual allusions to horses seen within the collection, which pays homage to his early years growing up in Tondo, Manila. “Just so I can have some money to bring to school, I would clean jeepneys on the side of the road,” he said. “The horse always reminded me of my past, which helped me face my future with a positive attitude.”

    Another heartwarming example is an image of a Hello Kitty coin bank, which once belonged to the artist’s oldest daughter Kiten. “She doesn’t know that when she threw it, I picked it out of the trash can, probably because she was turning into a young woman then,” he recalled. I kept it for years in my studio, feeding money into it. I wrote a message underneath: ‘For my grandchild, Happy 1st Birthday.’ In the future, Kiten will be surprised it’s the same one she threw years ago.”Adding more weight to the story is the object being exhibited alongside the painting.

    These weren’t the only defining stories he shared through his distinguished abstracts. Rosscapili also exhibits a paintbrush he has preserved for 20 years since its purchase in Paris and which he credits as a faithful servant that bore witness to his life’s work. He holds these objects up to the canvas, with the painting acting as a mirror as he peers into his future.

    “Painting for me is a daily discovery,” Rosscapili said. “I make it a point that each day I will find time to listen to music that I like and go to places that will comfort my spirit. If I need love, I just go to my family or play and care for my cats and dogs, only then that I am able to maintain a level of freshness because all these experiences are reflected in my work.”

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